Trek to mark life of Potarch legend

John with some of the horses which will be travelling along Potarch Bridge.

John with some of the horses which will be travelling along Potarch Bridge.

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An owner of a horse riding centre will be leading his horse riders from the ancient bridge over the River Dee at Potarch along the Deeside way to the Aboyne Highland Games this Saturday to commemorate the life of one of the world’s finest athletes and strong man Donald Dinnie.

John Crawford, who runs the Hayfield Riding Centre in Aberdeen’s Hazlehead Park, knew little about Donald Dinnie until he met Potarch Hotel owners Che and Nicola Mueller who told him how Donald first became famous by carrying the two massive stones which sit outside the hotel and weigh 352 kgs over the Potarch Bridge and back.

Donald Dinnie was born, one of a family of ten at Balnagraig in the region of Birse near Aboyne, in 1837.

His fame resulted in him travelling the world competing in Highland Games in the same way that people now come to Deeside and Scotland every year.

John’s ride to the Aboyne Games with his riders this Saturday is the first of many Deeside rides which he intends to make in future.

John said: “Horses and the countryside are my life and few places in the world can beat Deeside which is steeped in history from the early days of the Picts.

“I bought four lovely young Highland ponies which we will ride to the games on Saturday and a new venture starts form our ride to the Aboyne Games to commemorate the world renowned athlete from Birse - Donald Dinnie.”